Hiring for Tech Companies: 5 Predictions for 2015

Hiring for Tech Companies: 5 Predictions for 2015

Hiring for Tech Companies

Hiring for Tech Companies

We spend a lot of time at the forefront of the technology and startup communities. Every year brings new trends, obstacles and changes to the world of human resources, with 2015 promising to be both an exciting and challenging year. We’ve listed some of our predictions for tech startup hiring in 2015 below.

1. The Decline of The Resume Will Continue
Companies continue to look for new ways to recruit, new ways to evaluate people and new ways to hire. And if there is one thing that founders, hiring managers and recruiters agree on, it’s that the resume is little more than an entry point for candidates. Even as an entry point, the game is changing. Portfolios, projects, personal websites and LinkedIn profiles are the resumes of today. It would be a surprise if the resume was still a necessity in 10 years.

2. Tech Positions Will Be The Hardest to Fill
Finding capable, passionate and available tech talent has been a pain point for early ventures (and established ones) for quite some time now. The war for talent is the result of many factors and market conditions. Regardless of the causes, the trend is pegged to continue. There are many shifts taking place in education and self-directed learning resources, and salaries continue to increase in an effort to attract talent, but many of these initiatives have yet to create a significant impact on increasing the supply of talent. We may soon see a day where technical professionals are readily available, but for now the tight market continues.

3. More Talent Will Start Their Own Companies Rather Than Join Another
The media in 2014 was full of stories about new companies, innovative technologies, VC fundings and tech IPOs. And with the availability of resources for new entrepreneurs and the hip factor of being an entrepreneur today, more and more people are shifting from working at a startup venture to starting their own instead. This shift will continue to squeeze the talent market thin, making it more difficult to locate and secure talent willing to work in a tech startup environment.

4. Data Scientist Will Be The Job of The Year
The data scientist may very well be the next battle waged in the war for talent. A unique blend of skills and experience, the data scientist must be a programmer, analyst and subject matter expert all in one. Finding the mathematics skills is one thing, but finding professionals who can take those skills and apply them to organization-specific data and uncover valuable insights is another ball game altogether. Yet the value of the right person in this role is undeniable for most organizations. The data scientist may very well become a necessary staple of every company in the near future.

5. Talent Acquisition Spend Will See Its Highest Year Ever
Human resources departments, internal recruiters and executive search firms are going to work harder than ever to produce results. The demand for talent continues to increase, and the pace of growth for the pool of available talent continues to lag behind the growth in demand. More dollars must be spent, more incentives offered and more creative strategies deployed in order to secure the right people.

Is your tech company ready to start hiring in 2015? We are the premier executive search firm for high-tech companies, working with both startups and established companies to acquire sales, marketing, technical and operational talent across the technology landscape. Contact us today if you are looking at hiring for tech companies.

Don’t Hire Top Talent; Build A Top Team

Don’t Hire Top Talent; Build A Top Team

Hire Top Talent

Too much thought and focus goes towards trying to hire top talent in the high-tech industry. Tech startups need passionate and skilled people on their teams, yes, but many companies take this notion too far, passing over talented individuals in their pursuit for the perfect people. Perfect people don’t exist. Near perfect professionals are hard to find, expensive, generally employed and receive job offers on a regular basis. Passionate, skilled and capable talent is easier found, more affordable and eager to join the right team. And in reality, the team built from the latter group can take your company far if you target the right people.

The Full Stack Rockstar Is No More

No, I don’t mean that LAMP professionals are extinct, but rather that LAMP is no longer the full stack. Getting tech to an MVP level in today’s landscape requires more disciplines than one professional can learn and master. Furthermore, I can’t think of a company in today’s tech world that has built a product with a team of one. To develop products in a reasonable timeframe, companies require a team of people collaborating and working together in a cohesive unit. For this reason, building the right team means building the right culture, which should take priority over acquiring a singular talent resource.

A Team Of 10 Produces More Than 10 People

Finding people who can do the work is easy. The real challenge is finding the right people for your team, culture and company. Overcoming that challenge pays huge dividends for a startup, and most successful companies know this. Evidence supporting the idea that happier employees are more productive is overwhelming. A significant part of that equation is building a team of people who work together well and enjoy each other in close quarters. This makes the cultural analysis a more important component of the hiring process than other aspects. In a well-thought-out team, per employee output should be a multiple of what a single employee could accomplish alone. A dysfunctional team, on the other hand, leads to fractional per employee output.

Focus On The Team Puts Focus On Hiring For The Right Things

When hiring objectives shift from finding the best in the industry to finding the best for your team, companies begin looking for traits more valuable than just accomplishments and skill sets. Qualities like passion, integrity, wisdom and creativity become a higher priority, all of which are difficult if not impossible to teach or train, but necessary and invaluable. Technologies, languages and industries can be taught and learned, but character and aptitude are almost always constants.
There is no question that top industry talent is a scarce commodity and something worth capturing. But should your company have the opportunity to hire industry leading talent, make sure they fit your team, culture and company first. To start building your team the right way, get in touch with us today!

Ask The Right Questions Before Hiring Your Next Recruiter

Ask The Right Questions Before Hiring Your Next Recruiter

Hiring Your Next Recruiter

Hiring Your Next Recruiter

It feels like there are a gazillion recruiting firms and agencies competing for your business. Recruiting is a tough job, but it pays pretty well if you can do it well, and plenty of people are trying. For startups, this makes for a tough situation. How do you know if a firm can deliver? Can they handle what you need? Are they dependable? Will they provide a good working relationship? These are legitimate concerns, especially when it comes to the impact early hires have on a startup’s success. How do you overcome these concerns? Ask the right questions.

Can they handle your needs?

What job functions do you specialize in?

From VP of Sales to Javascript Developers, the range of job functions out there is abundant, as are the number of recruiters that deal with them. Each comes with its own level of difficulty and each profession has its own talent market. Finding a recruiter with experience in the type of position you need filled not only means they will understand your hiring needs, but will most likely have a well-built network along with established sourcing channels to tap into the search.

What industries do you specialize in?

When it comes to recruiting for your company, finding a firm with experience in your industry goes a long way.  For a company to understand your hiring needs, they need to understand your business, and not just the position at hand.

What level of seniority do you deal with the most?

Finding a talented Developer is a different ballgame than hiring a VP of Technology. A recruiter may have easily found success delivering candidates for lower level positions, but could have no experience recruiting at the C- level. Be sure to vet out the breakdown of their successful placements.

What geographies do you focus on?

Today’s recruiter can work remotely from anywhere and still deliver top-notch results, but geographic focus is still an important consideration. Recruiters who focus on a specific geography, even without boots on the ground, develop stronger networks within those areas. Even if relocation is an option your company would consider, for most positions your immediate geography is the most likely source of candidates.

What Clients have you worked with, and what do they say about you?

Most recruiting firms can materialize a client list fairly easily, but testimonials from past and current clients are more tangible evidence of a firm’s caliber. It’s one thing to hire a recruiting firm, but to give them an endorsement speaks volumes about their results.

Is the firm dependable?

How long has the company been in operation?

A history of operation and longevity is a good sign of dependability. It shows that a recruiting firm has been stable enough to startup, grow and survive, through both hiring frenzies and the lean times.

What is the average experience level of the recruiters?

Most typical firms in operation will have a few senior level recruiters with experience and solid track records, and then a fair spread of more junior level people, either sourcing and learning the trade or taking on less challenging accounts and openings. A team full of entry level recruiters should be an immediate red flag. A team of veterans is a good sign, but will come with a price tag as well.

What is the average tenure of your recruiters?

As a profession, recruiters tend to have a higher turnover rate than others, similar to the sales industry. A solid average tenure for a team of recruiters is right around 2 years. If you come across a firm in your search whose team tenure averages less than a year, turn around and run.

Working Relationship

Who is my point of contact?

This is an important question to ask. Many firms have a level of internal competition, and thus may have more than one recruiter reaching out to you. A firm should be able to clearly articulate who your Account Manager is, and this person should be informed on the aspects of your search.

How do you source your candidates?

Some firms are guarded about where they find people, but most firms are looking in many of the same places. What you really want to discern is whether or not they will send you a stack of resumes or a smaller, more manageable pile of vetted submissions. Alongside this, you should determine how the recruiters match candidates to your position.

What is the average placement time?

Some of your hiring needs may be ongoing or lack urgency, but for a startup, most hires need to happen yesterday, so timeline is an important consideration. This is data that a good recruiting firm knows up front and can use to demonstrate that number to you.

Do you offer any guarantee?

Hiring is a tricky ball game, and even the best hires don’t always work out. Realizing this, recruiting firms will generally offer some sort of guarantee around their placements. The details of that guarantee can either legitimize it or leave you out of luck should your hire not last through a specific period of time. Dig into the firm’s placement guarantee, and make sure you know exactly what you are promised.
Hiring Your Next Recruiter is just as important as choosing the people you employee. When making a decision about an executive search firm, be sure to ask the right questions and get the right answers. Speak with us today to get OUR answers!

A Jeep Buyer’s Guide to Startup Hiring

A Jeep Buyer’s Guide to Startup Hiring

Guide to Startup Hiring


Guide to Startup Hiring

After years of ogling pictures and driving other people’s Jeeps, I finally took the plunge and bought myself a Wrangler. Most people want Mustangs or Ferraris, but for me, the dream has always been the Wrangler. It was a happy day.

The process of buying the vehicle, on the other hand, was less than enjoyable. In between the salesman telling me for the 6th time he was going to get my keys while in reality coming back with another bad offer, it dawned on me that navigating a vehicle purchase is not all that different from the startup hiring process. Naturally, I am sharing what I’ve learned with you to lessen your hiring headache and make your next auto purchase a breeze (you’re welcome).

Find Something That Is You

I have wanted a Jeep Wrangler since I can remember. Some people want Mustang Cobras, GTs, Z-1s and other sports cars, but the pinnacle for me has always been a Wrangler. And yes, I could have checked out some of the nicer trucks and SUVs out there, and was nearly sold on an FJ Cruiser instead (I gave it serious thought). In the end, I knew what I had always wanted from the beginning was right for me, because those other options didn’t fit my needs, personality and lifestyle like the Wrangler.

When it comes to hiring for your startup, you are fishing from a pool of hundreds, if not thousands, of professionals. Yes, you will find many qualified people for the job, but if they don’t fit your company, its culture and team, then you haven’t found the right person for the job.

Check Out The Reviews

I’m an amature mechanic at best, and have little authority when it comes to rating cars. I checked out Edmunds, Car and Driver, Kelley Blue Book and Cars.com, and also peeked inside a few forums just to see what the enthusiasts and haters had to say. I know what I need it to do, but can’t necessarily say whether a car will be able to do it.

Check your references. Then execute your due diligence and find other references. Too many companies skip this step. Due diligence is a pain and will never be easy. But past performance and behavior is often a predictor of future performance and behavior, and the observations and opinions of others are your best records of both. So, please…Find your own references to check.

Realize That You Will Get The Good And The Bad

The Wrangler is not a perfect vehicle by any means, and I was well aware of that. The gas mileage isn’t great; the highway ride is not the best, and I know the day will come when I run into the classic soft top issues of rain water and rough car washes. Like any vehicle, it’s going to need maintenance and will probably throw me a repair bill worth an arm and a leg every once in a while. I did my research, and although something else might creep up and surprise me, for the most part I know what I’m getting into.

There is no such thing as the perfect hire, so don’t try looking for one. The best thing you can do is gather as much information as you can, paint an accurate picture of your potential hires so you know what to expect and match up your needs with what candidates can offer. Get the person you need, and be prepared for both the good and the not so great.

Define And Stick To Your Non-Negotiables

The number of features, options, upgrades and modifications available on vehicles today means that, even with the make and model narrowed down, you have literally hundreds of options from which to choose. Ultimately, there were just a few things that were non-negotiable for me. It had to be an Unlimited four-door, be a 4×4, be a low mileage vehicle (I considered used cars as well) and have cruise control. Anything else, I could take or leave depending on the price.

You will come across people with a wide range of experience and talents, but when it comes down to it, you will have to pay for every aspect of your hire. Define your non-negotiable needs and leave everything else as a nice-to-have. This will allow you to focus on your core needs, walk away from candidates outside of your price range and find a Goldilocks hire for your team.

Take It For A Test Drive

I would never buy a car without taking it for a test drive. It could be the coolest looking car out there, but if it’s a poor driving experience, I won’t buy it. I took the Jeep I eventually purchased out for an hour-long test drive, and was sold halfway through.

When you look at hiring from the car buying perspective, trying out candidates before you hire them makes a lot more sense. Many of today’s forward-thinking companies are adopting this approach already, whether it’s bringing them on for a project as part of the hiring process or giving them a contract-to-hire opportunity to test the waters and see if they’re a match. One of the biggest issues with hiring is you never know what you’re getting until you have it, making this a stellar approach.

Don’t Go Over Your Price

Ultimately, it didn’t matter what my non-negotiables were or how much I loved that car if I couldn’t get them to match the price I needed. My budget was my budget, and as hard as they tried to get me to compromise, I knew better. In the end, I ended up at the top range of my number, but it was still within the range.

For all of the talk about offering market compensation to attract top talent, every company knows that the resources you have are the resources you have, regardless of what you need. You must be competitive in your compensation, but if the market demands more than you can offer, it’s time to find another solution; consider less expensive options, reevaluate your core needs or go raise more money. But don’t stray from your budget without serious evaluation or consideration of alternatives.

Hang In There!

I spent 8 hours (yes, you read that right) dealing with the dealership and negotiating. Nevermind the time I spent researching before I ever drove up there. I had to fight for what I wanted, and was ready to walk away quite a few times. Had they not reached my parameters, I would have left a sad, Jeepless man.

Hiring takes work and time. Ask any Fortune 500 company, and they will tell you that their highest priority is hiring. The time, effort and money that companies put in is well worth it because the impact of a good hire and the value that the right talent brings to a company is enormous. So put the time in, get the resources, speak with recruiters and don’t stop until you find the right people.
I’m a few months into Jeep ownership, and I love it (I’m writing to you about it, so obviously). Follow the same guide to startup hiring, and you will be loving your sparkly new employees in no time, too.


Recruiting Passive Job Seekers: Creating A Plan Of Attack

Recruiting Passive Job Seekers: Creating A Plan Of Attack

Recruiting Passive Job Seekers

Recruiting Passive Job Seekers

If you are in the market today for quality employees, your chances of success are slim if your company isn’t seeking out passive talent. There are simply too many companies with too many openings and not enough candidates actively seeking employment in the technology industry to rely on inbound resumes. Every company today must be recruiting passive job seekers, but approaching this strategy is not something to jump into unprepared. Creating a plan of attack is key to winning the battle.

Define Your Job Parameters

It would seem like an intuitive step, but many companies begin looking for candidates before ever clearly defining the company’s needs. Everything from the job function to the focus and scope of work will have an impact on how you recruit. If the work is outside of your company’s existing knowledge base, it can be difficult to understand what you need. Get help from advisors, former founders, investors and recruiters if you have difficulty describing the role in question. Clarity around the job will reveal the attributes of your ideal candidate.

Find and Research the Right Channels

Once you have a clear definition around the job and the ideal candidate, determine what channels to approach for sourcing candidates. Although mostly dominated by online activity nowadays, there are still valuable offline resources to consider too. Mainstream tools like LinkedIn and Indeed are on the table, but consider digging in and locating industry and function-specific locations for your sourcing of the right people, whether on a career-focused platform or not. Any place, from professional and career sites, to technical forums and membership sites, to local meetups and groups can be considered sources, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Plan Your Pitch

Based on the ideal candidate and your sourcing locations, craft a motivating sales pitch. In recruiting, when you approach recruiting passive job seekers with nothing more than a job description and a handful of details, it is a recipe for failure. Remember, you are speaking to professionals in a market with high demand for their profile, who most likely have a good, stable job and an ocean of options to choose from should they decide to go fishing. You need a compelling case to present to prospects and an effective pitch strategy. Conversations must be massaged, and a well-reasoned argument must be made for them to consider jumping ship for both your company and the role at hand.

Create an Effective Offering

You can define the role to a T, spend weeks looking through websites, make calls and attend meetups, and deliver the perfect pitch to everyone you find. But when it comes time to make an offer, delivering anything subpar to potential hires, and passive canidates especially, will generally leave you with an unfilled position. Define the ideal candidate, and then research the compensation that correlates with that caliber of talent. If the price is over budget, you may need to take a look at your parameters and drill into the core non-negotiables. But delivering below market offerings to passive candidates of interest just won’t fly like it could with actively seeking professionals.

Engage Your Target

Once you have crafted your plan of attack, it’s time to execute. It may take weeks or even months to find the right person, but if executed well and with the right time and consideration, you will find the right person for the job.
Experienced recruiters have been through this process hundreds, if not thousands, of times, and have overcome the same roadblocks and mistakes that you will inevitably encounter. Partnering with a top executive recruiting firm can help you navigate the waters of talent sourcing and acquisition, increasing your chances of making a great hire exponentially. If your company is ready to find the top talent it needs, speak with us today about the hundreds of startups and technology companies we’ve helped find the right people for the job. We’re battle ready, here to help you win the war for talent.

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